Monday, December 21, 2015

Strong In My Practice

I absolutely could have slept in this morning. Both my children are visiting friends and my husband had to leave the house especially early, and, honestly, I could still be asleep right now. I love sleep. I love naps and I love sleeping in.

But I also love myself. I practice yoga, and on Mondays that means an 8:30 class with Marcy. I could do other classes or I could spread my mat out in my own house at the hour of my choosing--I could sleep in AND practice yoga--but it wouldn't be with Marcy, whom I love. I'm going to be crap at the asanas today. I strained several important muscles in a more-strenuous-that-usual fox hunt on Saturday--not making that up, though we chased coyotes instead, foxes being thin on the ground--and no, we don't kill things, what would we chase next week if we did?--anyhow, I'm going to be crap at the poses, but I've learned that that doesn't make me crap at yoga. I'm supposed to be listening to my body. If my hips hurt today, it's okay to let them be.

I started taking yoga seriously about a year ago. One December Monday, when I was still really struggling to flow from one pose to another, but was starting to be able to link the movements with my breath, Marcy gave me a solemn look of approval after class. "You were strong in your practice today," she said.

I remember that because the truth of it stayed with me. I wasn't necessarily good at yoga. But I was strong in my practice, which was the part I could control, and the part that mattered.

I thought of all this today because I'm also heading into big changes, changes I didn't anticipate, with the sequel to TWTSML. My brilliant editor suggested last week that we talk, because she had a idea she wanted to bounce off me in person. Her idea is reasonably radical; however, it's also possibly very good. She really did just want to tell me her idea, and let me decide whether or not to act upon it, which I appreciate; I also appreciate her ability to separate what the manuscript currently is from what it might be. Unfortunately her idea means that a lot of pages of very good writing--really excellent writing, some scenes and dialogue I'm proud of--will have to be cut, forever.

And that struck me as a little bit like yoga. I have a writing practice. I am strong in my practice, which means I've got to come at my work with the best I have each day, on that day. As another of my instructors says, "No judgement, no agenda." Just the best story.

I checked out Elizabeth Gilbert's book Big Magic from the library, because I didn't anticipate liking it so much that I'd want my own copy. Then I found myself dog-ear-ing pages.  (Sorry, library!) "Nobody ever died because I got a bad review in The New York Times. The polar ice caps will not melt any slower or faster because I couldn't figure out how to write a convincing ending to my novel."

It's not the fate of the world, but it's my practice. I could sleep in. Instead I get up, I do yoga, and then I sit down and write.